Dreaming About My Dad

Me and my dad, probably some time in 1966.

Me and my dad, probably some time in 1966.

You know how sometimes you wake up in the middle of a bad dream? Well, this morning I woke up in the middle of a good dream. It would have been nice to go back to sleep and continue the dream, though of course that wasn’t possible. It was a dream about my dad.

I was 16 (twenty-eight yeas ago) when he died from an awful condition called Multiple Myeloma (a plasma cell cancer). With the passing of time, sometimes it’s hard to remember some things about both mum and dad. And yet this morning’s dream was incredibly vivid.

Oddly enough, it had a Swedish connection. Yes, really. In the dream my dad and I were travelling in a car in the countryside. He was driving and I was using my mobile phone to take some video of us together to send back to my mum.

Minutes later we were climbing a snow-capped mountain in Sweden, and somehow we were strong enough to be dragging the car behind us.

It was an obviously very modern dream. And yet I as had the dream, I could almost feel my dad next to me. He was happy and healthy – pre-cancer – and we were having a wonderful time together.

The last time I had such a vivid dream about my dad was several days after he died. Both my sister and I had similar dreams that night, and we had compared notes.

Throughout the day I’ve been thinking about what the dream meant, and why I had the dream right now. The conclusion I’ve come to is that it has something to do with my “wanderlust” at the moment with three overseas trips in two years. I can’t help but wonder how mum and dad would have felt, since they both lived most of their lives in Lismore, and only ever left Lismore to visit family and friends in neighbouring towns and cities. Or perhaps it’s not that literal? Perhaps there’s a deeper meaning?

As I came home this afternoon, I went online to find out what dreaming about your father meant, I found these possible explanations here…

(1) For men, father may be a conscience figure. If this is the case, bear in mind that your father’s prohibitions and commands will probably represent either conventional moral options which may have no relevance to your true nature or ‘destiny’, or irrational fears and feelings of guilt that began to take shape in you in earlychildhood.

(2) For a woman, father may figure in a dream as one who generates affection.

(3) The presence of your father may be a straightforward representation of him, or of the way you see/remember him (which may owe more to your subjective distortions than to what your father actually is or was). In any case, the reason for your father appearing in the dream will be shown by the part he plays in the dream story.

(4) If your father features in the dream as a protector, it may be that you need to ‘grow up’ and rely on your own resources. After all, life can hurt you only if you let it, only if you identify with your emotional self instead of with that deep layer of yourself that is immune to life’s pains and perils.

(5) Father may be an animus figure (see Glossary of Jungian Termnology), representing a woman’s (unconscious) masculine qualities. In this case, the dream may be suggesting that she should cultivate this countrasexual side of her nature.

(6) Frequent appearances by either parent, or both, in dreams may be a sign that you have not thrown off an infantile over-dependence on them. Jung cites a young man’s dream in which the man’s father appeared as a drunken driver, smashing his car into a wall. This is the exact opposite of the real father, who was a most respectable person, rightly – but too too much – respected by the son. What the unconscious was doing through the dream was dethroning the father in order to enable the son to achieve a proper sense of himself as a person in his own right, with his own unique destiny and values.

I’m sure there are lots of other explanations.

Whatever the deeper psychological meaning, I just know it was a lovely dream about my dad, and one that made me feel good as I woke this morning.

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